Nikon 105mm f/2.8 G ED-IF AF-S VR Micro

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This lens is a major resign compared to the previous versions of the Micro-Nikkor 105 mm f/2.8. The optical formula has been changed from the old 8/9 element design to 12/14, including one ED element and one element with nano-crystal coating, resulting in improved colour rendition and better contrast. Nine rounded diaphragm blades gives superb bokeh. The auto-focus now uses an AF-S ring focus motor. Nikon has also added a focus limit switch to the design. This controls whether the lens will auto-focus throughout its range (Full) or only in the “non-macro” range (50 cm to infinity). This lens has internal focusing, so nothing moves while you focus. The new lens also comes with VR II, with the following caveat in the manual: “As the reproduction ratio increases from 1/30x, the effects of vibration reduction gradually decrease.” This is true. At 1:1, VR has no effect (I actually prefer to turn VR off for macro work). But the VR II comes handy the lens is used as a general purpose short tele, for portraits, etc. where it gives an improvement equivalent to up to four stops.

Its overall optical performance is better than its predecessors. There is virtually no distortion, only slight vignetting, and virtually no chromatic aberrations.

Despite all the improvements listed above, the Micro-Nikkor 105 mm f/2.8 G ED-IF AF-S VR is better in theory than in practice.

For one thing, it is much more bulky than its predessors, making it less easy to hand-hold.

However, the bad news for me is that the shortening of the focal length-trick in the macro region that Nikon added to make the AF and AF-D versions go to 1:1 has been retained. This means than when working in the macro region (i.e. between 1:2 and 1:1), re-focusing the lens also results in changing magnification. This means that framing the subject becomes difficult if the camera is on a tripod. You cannot adjust focus ever so slightly without altering the framing of the subject in a major way. Because of this, I prefer the manual AI-S version over this one for macro work.

Autofocus is very fast and secure at normal focus distances. At macro distances, you're probably better off with manual focus. Compared to the Canon 100mm f/2.8 EF Macro L IS USM, the auto-focus performance of this lens is disappointing.

To conclude: This lens is great if you want a stabilized short tele, but it is less than ideal as a macro lens.

Comes with lens hood HB-38. Usable Nikon Teleconverters: TC-14E II, TC-20E II, but do not expect great auto-focus performance. Can also use TC-17E II, but only with manual focus, auto-focus is not supported.

Rating: Ed: -, User: - (normalized, 0=useless, 50=average, 100=excellent).

Mount: Nikon F.
Format: FX/135.
Aperture range: f/2.8 to f/32.
Close focus distance (CFD): 31 cm / 1.02 ft (from sensor plane).
CFD magnification: 1:1 / 1X.
Focus: AF (built-in, ring-type).
Groups/elements: 12/14.
Filter diameter: 62 mm.
L x D, W: 116 x 83 mm, 720 g.
Approximate street price: USD 890 (new, w/o tax).
Production: 2006-today.

Company Profile

Key info

Established: 1917
HQ: Tokyo, Japan
Web: Global, EU, US, man

Nikon is a multinational corporation headquartered in Tokyo, Japan specializing in optics and imaging. Its products include cameras, lenses, flash units, scanners, binoculars, microscopes, measurement instruments, and steppers (used in semiconductor fabrication). The company was founded in 1917 as Nippon Kōgaku Kōgyō Kabushikigaisha (Japan Optical Industries Corporation), and renamed Nikon Corporation, after its cameras, in 1988. Nikon Corporation is one of the companies of the Mitsubishi Group.

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